AN analysis of GDC data has found that male dental professionals were more likely to have been involved in a fitness to practise (FtP) case than their female colleagues, as were older (over 30) registrants.
These are just two findings from the first in-depth analysis of FtP data commissioned by the GDC, aimed at “assisting the organisation with its reform to become a better, fairer and more efficient regulator”.
The analysis, carried out in 2016 by Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, also found that dentists were significantly over-represented at all stages of the FtP process compared to other registrant groups.
Dentists coming on to the register having qualified in an EEA country were more likely to be involved in an FtP case, but those coming onto the register by taking the Overseas Registration Exam were less likely to be involved compared to their UK qualified counterparts.
The odds of having been involved in an fitness to practise case were 22 per cent higher for dental professionals identifying as ‘Asian’ or ‘Other’ compared to those identifying as ‘White’ but the researchers are careful to note that there are significant gaps in this data as it was provided on a voluntary basis.
The GDC says the report reveals some important insights into the types of FtP cases and the dental professionals appearing but it is "just one source of information in a complex landscape, and is not, on its own, able to establish the factors that are causing these findings".
"We will be working closely with our partners to help us understand why we are seeing particular trends in the case data."
Jonathan Green, Executive Director, Fitness to Practise, at the General Dental Council, said: "This is a major step towards improving our use of data and intelligence to inform upstream regulation initiatives – to improve patient protection, ensure the public maintains confidence in dental services and to better support professionals.
"We made a commitment within Shifting the balance to use data and intelligence to inform our approach to regulation and this statistical analysis of our fitness to practise data is one of the ways we are working to fulfil this. We have already started to use the findings to feed into our ongoing work to deliver our commitments. We will continue fulfilling our commitment to better share data and intelligence with the dental sector by developing a ‘state of the nation’ report, to be published at the beginning of 2019."